Hello! My name is Laoise Sutton and I have recently completed my Gaisce Gold Award. I was born in Derbyshire, England and moved to Ireland when I was 7 years old.
My Gaisce experience started in secondary school when the students of the younger years (1st, 2nd and 3rd year) looked on enviously at the older years (5th and 6th year) who got to participate in this mysterious activity called Gaisce.
None of us really knew what it was or what it involved but we wanted to do it. Finally, 5th year came and we were allowed to do Gaisce – one small problem, we could only do Bronze. Once I heard there were silver and gold too, I knew I really wanted to do them all and now, I can proudly say that I have.
Throughout my Gaisce experience, I have had three President Award Leaders (PALs). For my Bronze award my pals were Ms. Deirdre Convey and Ms. Carmel Moroney who were also my teachers at St. John Bosco Community College, Kildysart, Co. Clare.
I spent my 5th year and some of my 6th completing this first step to gold. For both my Silver and Gold, my PAL was Shay Claffey, the chaplain at Maynooth University.
The experience and confidence I gained were invaluable
I did my Silver in my 2nd year of University and my Gold over my Erasmus year in Salamanca Spain, my final year and some of my MA. All three PALs were incredibly supportive and encouraging, always willing to help with any doubts or queries I had and for this I will be always grateful!
I decided to go for the Gold as I enjoyed the Bronze and Silver so much that I had to continue. Both awards had taught me a lot of new qualities and the experience and confidence gained were invaluable. I therefore thought it was extremely worthwhile to use my time to achieve the Gold.
Gaisce as a whole is such a rewarding and exciting thing to complete. In each section I learnt so many different and new skills, from dealing with customers and entertaining children, improving my strength and fitness to reading a map, navigating and I could go on. I met such interesting people that I would not have had the chance to meet without Gaisce.
I’ve made friends and deepened friendships with Gaisce’s help. I gained confidence in myself and my abilities over the years I’ve spent completing my Gaisce, not just Gold, but Bronze and Silver too. I’ve grown as a person throughout my Gaisce years.
Gaisce has taught me the value of trying and learning new things, to get out of your comfort zone, to experience life to the full and seize any chance that comes my way.
Gaisce has helped contribute to the person I am today
It has taught me that if something is worth doing, even if it’s hard, it is worth sticking it out. If you endure the tough times, you’ll come out all the stronger for it.
As I write this I can feel a lump in my throat and tears coming to my eyes. I have spent the past 7 years with Gaisce as a main feature in my life. I am so thankful and grateful that I got to participate in something so exhilarating and life changing as Gaisce.
This may sound corny or a little daft, but Gaisce has helped contribute to the person I am today. For this, I will be forever grateful. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the staff and volunteers that make Gaisce what it is, thank you, thank you ever so much. It has been a blast!
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